Sara Pivac Alexander

Sara Pivac Alexander profile picture

Lecturer School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

BA (University of Auckland), MA (Victoria University of Wellington)

Sara is a NZSL lecturer and a member of the Deaf Studies Research Unit. She teachers “Certificate in Deaf Studies: Teaching New Zealand Sign Language” and NZSL courses. Sara also teaches NZSL at Victoria University of Wellington’s Continuing Education Centre.

Sara led the development of Learn NZSL, an e-learning NZSL website for beginners. This resource of national significance contains nine scaffolded learning modules supported by 660 video clips with interactive learning tasks. Sara also authored a website called TeachSign which is designed as an information and resource hub for NZSL teachers. The site includes a newly created NZSL Level One teaching curriculum and 200+ teaching materials. Sara also led the development of DEAF101 Online (renamed as NZSL101 Online), a homework site for NZSL101 students.

Sara was one of the Compilation Editors of the Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (2011). She was also involved with the Sociolinguistic Variation in NZSL project (2006–2008), funded by the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of NZ.

Sara was a recipient of the 2019 Equity and Diversity Award (Graduate Women Wellington), 2018 NZSL in the Media Award, 2015 NZSL Champion Award, and 2008 NZSL Teaching Award (NZSL Awards, Deaf Aotearoa). She is currently a member of New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association.


Pivac, L., Vale, M., & Pivac Alexander, S. (2018). NZSL Tutors Survey Report 2018: A Survey Report for the Office for Disability Issues.

Pivac Alexander, S., Vale, M., & McKee, R. (2017). E-learning of New Zealand Sign Language: Evaluating learners’ perceptions and practical achievements. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 22 Dec 2017.

Pivac Alexander, S. (2017). Learn NZSL.

Pivac Alexander, S., Lessing, V., & Ovens, S. (2015). TeachSign: NZSL Level One Community Education Curriculum. Retrieved from

Pivac Alexander, S. (2014). TeachSign.

Pivac Alexander, S. R. McKee, M. Berry, D. McKee & E. Paillat. (2013). DEAF101 Online: Introduction to NZ Sign Language. Deaf Studies Research Unit, Victoria University of Wellington.

Pivac Alexander, S. (2012). A Report for TAB Book Project Committee: New Zealand Sign Language Level One Resource Needs Survey.

McKee D., R. McKee, S. Pivac Alexander, L. Pivac, M. Vale (eds). (2011). Online New Zealand Sign Language Dictionary, Deaf Studies Research Unit, Victoria University of Wellington.

Schembri, Adam, David McKee, Rachel McKee, Sara Pivac, Trevor Johnston and Della Goswell. (2009). Phonological variation and change in Australian and New Zealand Sign Languages: The location variable. Language Variation and Change, Volume 21, Issue 02, July 2009, pp 193-231.

Pivac Alexander, Sara. (2008). Sociolinguistic Variation in New Zealand Sign Language Fingerspelling. Unpublished MA dissertation. Victoria University of Wellington.

Pivac, Sara. (2006). New Zealand Sign Language Student Units 7–12 Workbook. Auckland: Printsprint. New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association.

Pivac, Sara. (2002). NZSLTA Tutors Survey Report: Investigating the needs of NZSL Tutors. Auckland. New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association.